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  • On a night out while looking for love, there's nothing like having the support of a friend.

  • Known sometimes as a wingman or wingwoman, the term originates from fighter jet pilots,

  • where the wingman's job is to support and protect the leading pilot. This same dynamic

  • is applied when a friend needs support approaching potential partners. But what's the science

  • behind this strategy - and do wingmen actually work?

  • First things first - you look better in a group than you do on your own. One study had

  • participants evaluate pictures of 300 people and found that faces were significantly more

  • attractive when they were shown in a group photo compared to the same faces shown on

  • their own. Another good tactic a squad can use is that of a wild turkey. Wild Turkeys

  • attract mates in a “coalitionwhere one turkey isdominantand the other turkeys

  • arehelpers”. These helper turkeys wear less colourful plumage - making the dominant

  • one look like a better catch. And this strategy almost doubles the reproductive success compared

  • to those turkeys who ride solo.

  • Even male fireflies work together to attract ladies! Fireflies use bioluminescent flashes

  • to signal a mate. And when male fireflies synchronize their flashes, females responded

  • 82% of the time, compared to 3% of the time with asynchronous flashes. So maybe it’s

  • time for your squad to think of a co-ordinated dance?

  • Especially if youre the wingman to a lance-tailed manakin. Males of this species team up in

  • pairs, performing intricate dances - including leaping over one another. But within the group

  • there is an alpha and a beta - and the beta never gets lucky. So why be a wingman? A study

  • that tracked and analyzed DNA of 457 birds found that beta birds, after learning from

  • the Alpha’s, had a better chance of becoming an alpha the following year.

  • These strategies are often used among males - but what about females? Across cultures,

  • human women tend to be more selective or choosy than men when it comes to partnerships though

  • significant variation does exist among sexes. After all, females expend more resources in

  • pregnancy, making it important that they choose a partner more selectively. When asked to

  • describe their courtship strategies, interestingly, women were actually more likely to use cooperative

  • techniques than men, but these techniques were used to avoid partners where there was

  • no romantic interest. Again this certainly varies from person to person, and these studies

  • also only focused on heterosexual behaviour.

  • How far will the squad go for you? Are they willing to lie? It turns out the closer relationship

  • you have with someone the more likely you are to lie to make them look good. This is

  • why going out with your best friends to the bar can help boost your image.

  • Looking for love or a fling while in the company of friends is fun and often effective, but just

  • remember that finding romance doesn’t need to be a strategic game where you have totrick

  • someone - if you just be yourself you are more likely to find someone who likes you

  • for you.

  • Special thanks to audible for supporting this episode and giving you a free 30 day trial at

  • This week we wanted to recommend the bookThe Invention of Nature”’

  • by Andrea Wulf, which is a fascinating investigation of the relationship between environments around

  • the world and their connectedness with humanity! You can get a free 30 day trial at

  • and choose from a massive selection! We love them as they're great when youre on the

  • go.

  • And subscribe for more weekly science videos!

On a night out while looking for love, there's nothing like having the support of a friend.

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